College football guru Phil Steele is bothered by coaches who point out the youth and inexperience on their roster. Stop me if you've heard this one before.
Steele believes there are, in fact, five classes of players -- seniors, juniors, sophomores, true freshmen and redshirt freshmen -- not four. Further, after three years of natural attrition due to injury, transfers, NFL Draft early entrants and the like, a recruiting class of 20-25 is usually down at least 5-10 players, making the senior class much smaller than the incoming freshman one. So, on average, you can expect the number of underclassmen to comprise 60 percent of the total roster. Math.
We're young. We're inexperienced. But on average, we'll always be young and inexperienced as a percentage of the total roster. Say, 60%?
Here's Steele's numbers for Boston College which includes walk-on squad members, FWIW.
Upperclassmen: 32 (39.51%)
Lowerclassmen: 49 (60.49%)
As Steele suspects, Boston College is a perfectly average program when it comes to breaking down the roster by class -- hovering right around the 60 percent mark. BC is one of 43 programs above the 60 percent underclassmen barrier, which sounds relatively youthful and inexperienced, until you compare this figure to the rest of the ACC.
The ACC placed four programs in the top 10 for youngest rosters in the country. Virginia Tech led the way with a roster comprised of 73.98 percent undergrads. Virginia (69.89%), Clemson (69.09%) and Georgia Tech (68.29%) all finished in the top 10 nationally. Both North Carolina (66.67%) and Duke (63.81%) ranked high on the underclassmen ratio.
BC's mark of 60.49 percent was good for seventh in the conference, ahead of Maryland (57.32%), Miami (55.10%), Wake Forest (54.55%) and N.C. State (53.10%). Florida State has the most upperclassmen as a percentage of the total roster with a little over half of the roster -- 50.43% -- comprised of underclassmen, adding yet another reason why pundits are heaping great expectations on the Seminoles in 2012.
One final note on these stats. I don't have an answer / rationale for this, but why is BC football only rocking a roster of 81 players? The only programs with a fewer total number of players on the roster nationally are UMass (79) Buffalo (77), Wake Forest (77), Hawaii (77), Vanderbilt (76), New Mexico State (76) and Nevada (72) -- all terrible programs. Correlated?
Conversely, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech have rosters totaling 123 players. Florida State 117 players. Clemson 110.